Alliance Aviators at Louisville Leopards 2014 Football Preview
Alliance Aviators (4-4, 2-3) at Louisville Leopards (7-1, 5-0)
SPREAD: Louisville By 28 (According to Drew Pasteur’s Fantastic 50)
WHEN: Friday, October 19 at 7:00 PM
WHERE: Louisville Leopards Stadium
HIGHLIGHTS: Will be available following the game late Friday night or early Saturday morning right here on louisvilleleopards.org
ALL-TIME SERIES: Louisville leads the all-time series 12-4-1, which includes a 5-2-1 record at home.
LAST MEETING: The Leopards won 24-21 at Alliance back on October 25, 2013.
LAST MEETING AT LOUISVILLE: The Leopards Won 13-8 back on September 28, 2012
|1||at Canfield||W 24-7||Southeast||W 33-13|
|2||at Hoover||L 14-17||Canfield||L 13-44|
|3||Ravenna||W 40-6||at Barberton||W 42-23|
|4||at Salem||W 49-6||at Minerva||L 0-14|
|5||at Carrollton||W 37-22||at Salem||W 41-19|
|6||West Branch||W 51-0||Carrollton||W 14-7|
|7||Minerva||W 44-21||Canton South||L 6-17|
|8||at Marlington||W 54-14||at West Branch||L 7-21|
The Leopards can clinch at least a share of the NBC Title and likely a playoff birth with a victory over the Aviators Friday. A win by Louisville and a Marlington loss to Carrollton will give them the conference outright with a week left to play. The last two meetings between the Leopard and Aviators were instant classics. Louisville rallied to beat Alliance 13-8 at Louisville Leopards Stadium in 2012 and last year with everything on the line the Leopards pulled out a last minute road victory against the Aviators 24-21. Louisville has dominated their league foes as in 4 of their 5 wins the mercy rule took effect in the second half. Alliance is 2-3 in the conference looking to get back on track and keep their faint playoff hopes alive in DIII, Region 7.
The Louisville Offense has averaged 383 yards (206 rushing, 177 passing) and 39 points per contest this season. The Leopards have outscored opponents 79-23 in the first quarter, 114-28 in the second quarter, a whooping 76-0 in the third quarter, and 44-42 in the fourth quarter this season. Quarterback Connor Zwick is at the center of it all with 1,848 yards of offense this season. He has completed 89 of 134 (66.4%) passes for 1,249 yards and 17 touchdowns against 5 interceptions this year and has also rushed for 599 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground. Runningback Walter Schrock has averaged 100 yards per game this year as he has totaled 699 yards on 85 carries and 10 touchdowns in the Leopards rushing game. As has been the case all season, Louisville has a plethora of talented receivers that include Kyle Woost (32 catches, 329 yards, 3 touchdowns), Alec Jones (19 catches, 298 yards, 8 touchdowns), Ryan Lautner (18 catches, 276 yards, 4 touchdowns), Tyler Adams (13 catches, 258 yards, 4 touchdowns), and Josh Swanson (9 catches, 207 yards, 1 touchdown).
The Leopards Defense has allowed 205 yards (94 rushing, 112 passing) and just 12 points per game this season. Nine Different Louisville players have recorded at least 1 of the Leopards 16 Takeaways (9 fumble recoveries, 7 interceptions) this year. Linebacker Casey Nau (31 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 interceptions) leads this department with 4. Others recording a takeaway through the first eight games include: Stephen Kerzan (30 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception, 3 pass breakups), Daichi Castles (18.5 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery), Joe Crank (14 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 forced fumble, 2 interceptions, 5 pass breakups), Marco Buccasso (13 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries), Swanson (1 interception, 3 pass breakups), Brock Haren (1 fumble recovery), Cade Stertzbach (5 tackles for loss, 2 fumble recoveries), and Tyler Adams (1 interception). Kyle Ashcraft (44.5 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack), Jake Mathie (40 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 2 pass breakups), Dalton Deckerd (21 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble), Frankie Falcone (18 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks), and Tanner Brahler (16 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble) have not recorded takeaways but have made a big impact for the Leopards none the less.
On Special Teams, Kicker Austin Terra has seen plenty of work booting home 36 of 41 extra point kicks and 3 of 6 field goals totaling 45 points this season. Zwick has averaged 33.1 yards on 12 punts this year with a long of 53 and 5 inside the 20. Adams (5 kick returns, 30.4 avg., 59 long) and Mathie (5 kick returns, 16.6 avg., 25 long) have shared kickoff returns this season, while Crank (13 punt returns, 10.8 avg., 61 long) continues to be the Leopards main punt returner.
The Alliance Offense has averaged 245 Yards (135 rushing, 110 passing) and 20 points per game this season. Quarterback Aeyron Williams leads the Aviator aerial attack in completing 57 of 128 passes for 609 yards and 6 touchdowns against 7 interceptions. His top targets include DJ Hancock (24 catches, 391 yards, 4 touchdowns), Jordan Leone (13 catches, 234 yards, 2 touchdowns), and Josh Hammerton (8 catches, 51 yards). Hammerton also has the ability to throw the ball as he has completed 14 of 25 passes this season for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns. In the Aviators running game, three backs have shared the backfield which include Duce Johnson (83 carries, 457 yards, 4 touchdowns), Demitri Lott (81 carries, 416 yards, 5 touchdowns), and Kristian Jackson (24 carries, 141 yards). Alliance has turned the ball over 14 times this season (9 interceptions, 5 fumbles lost) and will need to minimize that Friday if they are going to stay with first place Louisville.
The Aviators defense has allowed 275 Yards (175 rushing, 100 passing) and 20 points per contest this season. As a unit they have forced 9 takeaways (6 fumble recoveries, 3 interceptions). Lott (40 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 2 interceptions) and Leone (36 tackles, 4 pass deflections, 1 interception) lead the Alliance secondary and are among the top tacklers on the team. Jackson (41 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 3 sacks) leads the team in solo tackles with 35 and leads a linebacking core that also includes Will Oesch (29 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery) and Johnson (27 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 1 sack). Mike Williams (42 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 3 pass deflections) leads the team in tackles and anchors the defensive line that also includes Shawn Barnes (26 tackles, 3 tackles for loss), Eric Kline (22 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 fumble recoveries).
On special teams, Kicker Jared Watson has made 14 of 18 extra point kicks and 1 of 2 field goals this season. His only made field goal came from 23 yards out in the opener against Southeast. Watson (15 kickoffs, 43.1 avg., 56 long) has split kickoffs with Bryce Hood (16 kickoffs, 43.8 avg., 61 long) who is also 1 of 1 on extra point attempts this season. Hammerton has been the Aviators main Punter this season averaging 27.1 yards on 30 boots with a long of 57 and 6 punts inside the 20. Quinnjon Gayles has emerged as Alliance’s top punt returner averaging 12.9 yards on 9 returns with a long of 42. Nine different Aviators have taken kick returns this year with the leaders being Marcus Davis (5 returns, 12.2 avg., long 16), Lott (4 returns, 28.8 avg., 71 long), and Johnson (2 returns, 50.5 avg., 85 long).